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June 30, 2006

Clearing out the old only to refill the hole

I don't know if it's supposed to work like this but it did. I had to clean out my garage and throw out a bunch of stuff in order to make room for some more things I brought home. So now my garage is neatly stuffed full again. Part of the reason is that I cleared out my art studio and brought everything home. Craftstravaganza is coming up on July eighth so I have to get ready for that this week.

Note to self: Bicycles and Bicycle stuff seems to be accumulating in the garage. I had better purge and organize.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:23 PM

June 28, 2006

Peace on Earth

By proximity, not proxy.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:13 PM

June 27, 2006

I'm starting to wonder if this model works

I'm starting to wonder if it's even possible to run a non-profit business with volunteers. There are not enough volunteers putting in the hours to do the work to make it work. Maybe it's possible with the right volunteer leaders who can rally the volunteers and take charge of all the different program areas. This is one of the problems I saw before I took over the reigns. But now that I'm here, I'm failing at doing what is necessary to make it work. I need to be the leader that gets people involved and active in the organization or there is no organization and we haven't made it off the endangered list.
I guess I'm an idealist and think the idea is cool, but in reality, it seems that people really want the "what's in it for me?" part. Now let's get down to the space issue. In today's world, there is little space available for next to nothing for an operation like this. Small self-funded non-profits like this keep getting forced out of their market by high rents. It's going to happen to our bike shop too. But the trouble is, everywhere we look, building owners want to give us half the space for twice the money. And that's generous. The trouble is we would never survive with just a volunteer operation. So we would have to forget about the 'charitable organization' part of our non-profit and focus on making money, which would change the whole look and feel and mission of our organization. Then it becomes more like a business and there is no real incentive or 'goodwill' feeling in volunteers to staff and run a business just for money.
It's too bad our society revolves around money. It lives and breathes by monitary value. Maybe what we need is a benefactor who believes in what we do and is willing to donate a large enough space to us to do our thing. I don't know if this model of a bike shop can really work. To make it work like other non-profit bike shops, we have to hire an executive director who gets paid a large amount of money to make it all happen.
I'm still evaluating what a workable solution might be. It's very interesting though.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:18 PM

June 26, 2006

Now it's raining, I don't have to mow

Haha, now it's raining and I can't mow the lawn. And I didn't do my training tonight because I was avoiding getting wet. But I'm sticking to my plan of slowing down. Tomorrow is yard and garden day. After work of course.
There are a lot of choices we can make in life aren't there?
Today I was reading a very good article on the Buddhist teachings about time and space. Though some of their conclusions contradict what they were trying to say about time, the end result was the same. Though it is almost incomprehensible, I do not believe that time changes at all. Our perception of time changes and we change. Matter changes. Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma. Mass in a state of change. Our measurement of time is arbitrary based on some marking off of our change. We say we are growing older, but we are not, we are merely changing from one form to another. We call it aging, but the matter is changing. We say the rotations of the planets in a certain pattern equals one year, yet it could be called a week or a month. It's just a name for some other forces moving and changing.
In Buddhist teachings its desirable to be able to see all of eternity in one instant. It's because there is only one time. It's been said that we cannot go back and change time, and it's true, we cannot change time, and we cannot undo change and transformation from one form of mass to another unless the circumstances are right. Aging is a curious question then. It's change. It may be prewired into our systems to change in this way, but it's only a matter of discovery to find a way to alter the change.
And so all things in life are change. And it's all happening right now.
The grass is getting longer, not because of time, but because of change. It's changing, growing. There are specific reasons and conditions for it to grow. We could apply a time measurement to it, but it's not growing in a week, it's growing and changing right now. When I cut it tomorrow night, it will change again. Time is irrelevent. Change happens regardless of the time.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:57 PM

June 25, 2006

Frantic Lives

Time and Life. Very deep subjuct. I noticed how frantic my day was, and how much stuff I did and didn't get done. For instance, I spent all day doing bicycle related things and didn't mow my lawn. Now tomorrow night I am doing cycle training and that will take up my time. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll get home early enough that I can still mow the lawn, but I'm sure I'll be exhausted then. So then it'll be Tuesday night for mowing lawn and doing some gardening.
I keep thinking about my reflections on time and still feel like I've had it all backwards my whole life. Society teaches us that time can be manipulated. Like we can "Save Time," "Take back our time," "Gain more Time," or "Not have enough time," "Lose Time," and "Run out of Time." But my time is always the same. I don't get any more or less. I only get choices about what to do with it. So basically it comes down to what I chose, not how much time I have or don't have. The real problem in life is how to choose so we are happy and healthy and love each other and ourselves. Tuesday night I'm choosing to do something good for my family and my home-life by doing the yard and some gardening. Now I just have to stick to that choice and not schedule anything else.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:47 PM

June 24, 2006

Communication

Communication doesn't just "happen." Relationships don't just "happen." Things don't just "happen." Everything is a creation of human beings "doing and creating" something. If things just happen we are all victims of what happens next. Yet we all create what happens next and want to blame someone or something else for what happens to us as a result of what happens in life.
I think good communication is essential in all relationships. It helps us relate and know how to help each other. And it's something ongoing. Something we build on. Something we earn through trust and learn from. There is heart-burning honesty and trust in good communication. It's very difficult to get to this point but well worth it.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:58 PM

June 23, 2006

Running, Biking, Swimming...

Today I just want to express my thankfulness to my friend Dan who helped me get into bicycling in the first place a few years ago. He encouraged me, rode with me, helped me pick out a bike, buy shoes and tires and all kinds of other things. Tonight on my training ride, I rode home with Dan and hung out for a while at his house talking with him, his wife and one of his sons. It was great and an unexpected stop. My original plan was to turn right around and head home. But this was worth it.
then I rode home, partially in the dark. Total ride: 38 miles. With so much training I haven't had time for much else, and this was a welcome social visit. Very nice family and I'm happy I know them.
So tomorrow is a running day, Sunday a day of rest and Monday is hill-training on the bicycle. yay. ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 10:27 PM

June 22, 2006

Everything slows down

Everything slows down when you are carrying a bin full of books on the back of your bicycle. As I was riding home I realized that this is probably the maximum weight this old dumpster bike could handle on the backend. Any kind of side-to-side motion in pedalling sent the bike wobbling. Then my back tire was really low.
Going up the Smith Avenue bridge was fine, just really, really slow. I just kept a nice steady pace and the workhorse made it.
I can get the books home, but now I have to find a place to put them, haha. It was nice to take a really slow ride home tonight. It gave me time to think. The added weight basically enabled me to have this use of my time.

Posted by carl1236 at 7:58 PM

June 21, 2006

Now the bed motivates me more than writing

It seems that with all of this exercise in the past month and a half, I've been missing a lot of posts, which is understandable I think, since I'm too exhausted to write and the bed is mightier than the pen sometimes, haha. And If I don't get enough sleep I'm not motivated to exercise the next day, so I am more motivated to sleep than to do other things. Except now, I'm dozing off at the computer and I'm still typing. Now I'm going to bed. Motivated.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:04 PM

June 20, 2006

Two Mile Run in 14:04

Tonight I had my final swimming lesson, but on my schedule today I had to run also. So before my lesson I had time to run two miles at about 75-80 percent of full-out effort. I ran it in 14 minutes and 4 seconds! This is very cool, because I know I could have run another mile at that pace. And last year my goal was to break through the 7-minute-mile barrier into the sixes. But it didn't happen last year. This year I will do it. About 24 years ago I did my best ever two-mile run at 10:24, which I have never been able to beat since. Given my current training schedule I will be running 6.5-minute miles in races by the time winter hits.
So after my two-mile run tonight I showered and got into the pool for a warmup and then had my lesson. It was good. I learned a few things like how to do a side crawl and and elementary backstroke. Plus we rehashed all the other swimming techniques. All of this just gives me more confidence that I will not drown out there in the middle of the lake. I can switch off between the front crawl and these other techniques and make it the whole half mile. Obviously the goal is to be able to do the front crawl the whole way because it's way faster. So I'll keep practicing.
Breathing is still my problem though, so I have to figure out how to get enough air on each breath.
I am discovering that I really like swimming, running and biking. It's fun to switch it up a bit and not do the same thing all the time.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:41 PM

June 19, 2006

Discouragement

So tonight, just six or seven weeks into my triathlon training course, I became a little discouraged about my swimming. I lost my spirit or morale because I could not swim a continous 200 meters, which was part of our exercise tonight. The most I had done up until this point was about 25 meters, or one length of the pool. But tonight I accomplished four lengths of the pool without stopping to rest. I am a little sore right now, but I did it. That is a small progress, so it encouraged me. I think that sometimes when we lose spirit, it's like losing hope. It's like giving up because the obstacle seems too great. But tonight I learned to push just a little more each time I tried. First it was three lengths of the pool, a ten second rest, followed by the fourth length. On my next attempt I did three full lengths, then only a five-second rest. Then I did all four lengths of the pool. No I did not make it to a half-mile swim yet, and I didn't even swim 200 meters continuously, but I did improve. I think when we are discouraged, it is the perfect time to push a little harder, to remember that by going just a bit more beyond our known limits, we get stronger and better. It's a hard way when things seem overwhelming, but I'll take any encouragement. It's better than giving up, or losing the heart to go on. Now I can't stop practicing, but have to try harder to make noticible improvements.
And I'm off to bed so I have the energy to run and swim tomorrow. hehe. It's a tough schedule where discouragement has no teeth. Our failures fade to the back as we work on the task at hand and try to push a little more than we thought we had.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:07 PM

June 18, 2006

The Bike Race in Stillwater

Today I went to see the pro bicycle race in Stillwater. It was really interesting and fun to watch. It was difficult to know who the riders were, with only a general idea based on their team colors. But the announcers down below the hill did a good job of announcing the race and filling us in on who the fast riders were, who was favored to win and who was keeping their overall lead even if they didn't win today's stage.
This race FELT brutal just watching it. I had trouble walking up that hill. I did get a chance to get all the way around the course during the woman's and men's races to watch it from different angles. The speeds on the downhills and cornering were incredible and the raw power going up the hills was impressive. I had greater respect for the bike racers after seeing this race. Even the ones that got dropped from the race have my respect. An hour-long ride at those speeds on this course would have killed me, haha. Well, actually, no, it wouldn't have killed me, I would have been dropped before that happened. Not saying I'm not a good bike rider, but I just know from trying bicycle racing myself how hard it really is and how well-prepared the the athletes have to be for races like this.
Then after the fun of seeing pro bicyle races, I got to ride my bicycle back and join my family for a Father's Day dinner. What an excellent day!
Oh by the way, bicycling the Gateway trail is a cool way to get to Stillwater. There were hundreds of bicycllists out there. It's almost exactly 6 miles from the end of the Gateway trail to downtown Stillwater at highway 36. Pretty soon though they are going to have to widen that bicycle highway to accomodate all the traffic, haha. I think the roller-bladers had the roughest time avoiding the bicylists that weren't sharing the trail very well. I don't know any statistics, but I've been on that trail several times in the past month and saw the same levels of use. Of course those were all during the weekends, but it's a hopeful sign to me that people really really like and use this trail.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:44 PM

June 17, 2006

I ran for an hour

As part of my training schedule I was supposed to run for 30 minutes today. But instead, once I was out there running I felt pretty good so I decided that today would be the day I would try to run for a full hour. And I did it! I ran 6.8 miles in exactly one hour. I'm tired now, but it felt really good while running. Now I'm off to bed so I can bike tomorrow. hehe. training is going ok so far. It was difficult to motivate myself to get started, but then the goal of beating my old limit of 48 minutes of running. I thought I could do it.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:12 PM

June 16, 2006

What IS Motivation?

mo┬Ěti┬Ěvate: to provide with a motive : IMPEL
mo┬Ětive: to move, something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act

Do I have trouble getting motivated? Yes. Sometimes I do. There are things I don't want to do. So I have real trouble with those things. Like cleaning or yard work, or something. Not that I don't like doing these things once I get started at them, but I may not want to start. Sometimes it happens with running or biking or swimming now. Training is hard work! Sticking to a schedule is hard! Especially when the body is weak. But I know in the long run, I want to accomplish something greater and know what I have to do to get there. So I do it out of sheer will power sometimes.
So one of the key ways I motivate myself is to convince myself I WANT to do it. I create inside of myself a need or desire to do it. And that causes me to act on it. It moves me.
In studying myself, I have learned a few things that de-motivate me. One is a lack of sleep. I don't feel like doing anything until I recover physically. Drinking too much would do the same thing. I spent four days once not wanting to exercise because I just felt blah. And that really messed with my training schedule.
I don't know sometimes what moves me into action. willpower really means, the will to do something, which means to want to do it. So, I have to find ways to WANT to do something.
Like right now, it's late, but I really WANT to clean the bathroom so I won't have to do that tomorrow along with my other chores. I didn't want to do it, but we are having company tomorrow, and I want to have a clean bathroom for guests. So I want it done. I want to clean it now so it's not left to the last minute to make sure it gets done.
Now let's see how good of a job I can do on it! I'm going to clean the bathroom now. ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 11:16 PM

June 15, 2006

Training ride with a buddy

Today on my training schedule was 45 minutes of biking with 3 hill repeats. Instead I went to my swimming lesson, then did thirty miles of biking with a LOT of hills. I drank two complete bottles of liquid by the time I got back home. It was pretty warm and the headwind was fierce at times. But it worked out good and I feel like I got a good workout.

Posted by carl1236 at 12:36 PM

June 14, 2006

Great River Energy Bike Festival Teardown

I didn't do the Time Trial tonight because I decided to save my money. I'm too focused on preparing for one event, August 20th. Last year I tried bike racing, this year it's a triathlon. So I didn't join in the festivities and won't be able to compare my time, but I did help tear down the fences and tents and other things set up along Shepard Road for the race. That was a good workout.
Today I ran in the morning before work, then swam at lunch. Tomorrow I'm supposed to bike for 45 minutes. So I'd better get to bed so I can function tomorrow. Tomorrow night I have my second swimming lesson.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:35 PM

June 13, 2006

Swimming 101

Tonight I had my first of three lessons in swimming. Debbie was a great teacher and helped me tremendously with my technique. I was mostly doing it right, but as I already guessed my breathing was all messed up. That meant I was going without enough oxygen and my heart rate was elevated after one length of the pool. After learning how to breath I practiced it and it felt much better! Then she corrected my hand entry into the water. After practicing that I was much smoother. And finally tonight I learned how to flutter kick. I was not doing that, I was doing more of a scissors kick for power, but i was inconsistant. So I learned how to practice my flutter kick. I was really happy and tomorrow morning I'm practicing my flutter kick and then breathing. I have a long way to go to be able to swim 1/2 mile in a race. But with better technique and daily practice, I now think I can make it. So I'm encouraged. Mainly because I was already improving after one lesson. It's a good sign.
Last night I did my first "Brick" training. We talked about transitions and then practiced them. First we transitioned from running out of the water to putting on our biking stuff and riding six miles, then we transitioned from biking to running 3 miles. I did ok, but it was painful. My legs did not want to work. It was wierd. my knees kept knocking together when running. I don't know, maybe I was placing my feet too close together when running. I could have been something about the way I pedal, carried over to running. Strange. But after about a quarter mile it got better.
Mostly on the run I had a hard time breathing and my muscles seemed spent already.
Then I biked home again from Turtle Lake to St. Paul. I really "Bonked" on the hill about a mile from home so took it really slow the rest of the way. Today I felt better and the swim was a good balance.
Tomorrow? Running again.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:07 PM

June 10, 2006

What 52 minutes of running feels like

Tonight I really did not want to run. I spent all day at the bike shop scrapping bikes and helping people and repairing bikes and cleaning/organizing. So when I got home I was tired and did not feel like it. But I had set a goal on Friday for my weekend and there was not any room for rest in it. I am participating in a team fitness program at work though and we have a goal to reach a combined total points to circle Lake Superior. Each type of exercise is worth a different number of points. Anyway, I told my team members that I would do the most I've done in the 8-week program if they increased theirs a little each day. This is the last week and my goal was pretty high.
Friday I swam for 30 minutes, but that wasn't even half of what I needed. But I was tired and had other priorities so I was short on points for that day. With two days left of the program, I knew I had to make it up today and tomorrow or I would let down my teammates. This was my motivation. I did not want to go to work on Monday and tell them I didn't feel like doing it. I was motivated by a fear of not letting someone else down. We want to go all the way around Lake Superior and I think we will make it. Tomorrow I will swim and bike. The other motivator for me today was a fear of not being ready for my Triathlon on August 20th. I know that it takes a long time to build up endurance and stamina, and this is my base training now. I know I can't get into shape over night so I did not want to let my training slip too much now, when I'm just completing my fourth week of the triathlon training program.
So tonight I ran for 52 minutes. My goal was fifty minutes. I decided I'd run to a park I had never been to, just to see what it was like, then turn around and come back. I decided that regardless of where I was that if I went back the same route I came I could turn around when I reached 25 minutes. I started. The first quarter mile was agonizing. My muscles were stiff, I had wierd aches and pains in different parts of my body; knee, ankle, stomach, toes, fingers, etc. Eventually I warmed up and started breathing steadily. I did good though. I felt good! I kept running. I decided it was not healthy to keep thinking about how far I was running or had to go yet. I just concentrated on enjoying the run and feeling my blood pump through my body and air go in and out. After running all the way back home, I realized that I had met my goal for this run by running for 52 minutes. It wasn't until I cooled down that I realized that I could have run for another eight minutes and I would have run for an hour! Holy cow! An hour of running without stopping! Less than a mile more and I would have done it! I even did two sprints during my run! that was hard though. My body did not like that.
When I was about a mile from home I was feeling a cold-sweat as I was being cooled off by the wind. Oh, funny thing happened on the way back home. Twice I was verbally communicated with by people in cars. Very strange. I was on the sidewalk running. The first one was a car of four young girls that were driving the same direction as me. They honked at me and yelled something out of the window. Then they all started laughing. hmmm. Then a couple of guys in a mini-pickup truck were driving toward me and they yelled out the window, "Hey man, you're running a long way!" I waved at them. They must have seen me going and couldn't believe I was still running when they saw me again. I'm only speculating.
when it comes to motivation, I know that I will feel good about it when I'm doing it and when I've done it. But man is it hard sometimes to stick with a training plan! I probably needed a slow rest day on Friday so I'll take it. Now I have an ab workout in the living room to do tonight. Then I'm off to bed. Tomorrow is another day for good training, and fixing my bike. I got tri-bars by the way. So I'll put those on when I change out my handlebars. Then I'll be ready for monday nights "Brick" training; biking and running in one workout.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:30 PM

June 9, 2006

Karma and the reason we do things

The other day I had a chance to get a cool bike frame and some other parts and it would have been totally cool for me to do this. The owner of the material was going to scrap it and later he said I could have anything of value off the bikes. I was doing the scrapping, which I wrote about the other day. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt in my heart that I couldn't keep any of it. The main reason I was doing the scrapping was to help out Lester when he was in a bind. It wasn't for bike parts. It was to save his butt when he was under pressure and to help him with his livelyhood. So instead I am bringing the few good parts I got down to the bike shop to donate. I felt guilty because keeping any of the parts was going against my original intent of giving to another person. Recently I've been looking at original intent, the heart of our actions. This relates to Karma. Too often though we lie to ourselves and justify our actions because we want something. Our desires cloud over our heart's intentions. I feel better now and it all worked out better than before. I helped Lester out, and he was thankful. Now I have restored my purpose in doing good for the sake of doing good, not for a reward at the end. The reward is in the process of doing not the end result or recognition.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:46 PM

June 7, 2006

Week 4 of Triathlon training

I'm in the fourth week of my triathlon training program. Last week on Thursday I became a little discouraged in the pool because I realized how much I needed to improve just to be able to swim the 1/2 mile in the Triathlon. That's when I decided I needed help and called for a swimming instructor. Today I paid for the lessons, and next week on Tuesday I'll get my first lesson. I'm excited because I think it will help me correct some swimming technique problems, like how to breathe. And it will help me train right before bad habits get too engrained in me. This was supposed to be my easy week, but I really just took 4 days off over the weekend with hardly no exercise at all. I could not bring myself to run last night, but tonight I ran about 5 miles and it felt good.
This week I also started swimming every day. I have to be able to swim 22 laps in the pool I think, so I have a long way to go. But I feel more confident today than I did yesterday. And more motivated. I have this feeling that I will arrive on August 20th faster than the increase in my fitness level. But who knows. I'm already feeling better about hard exercise. I'll see in a few more weeks. I have to remind myself that I just started a few weeks ago.
So it goes.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:13 PM

June 6, 2006

One of a Kind High School Graduation

Today I attended the High School Graduation of the Creative Arts High School in St. Paul. It's an alternative High School. Basically it's a small school with a small personal atmosphere where students are accepted for who they are and taught to bring out the best of who they are. Over the past couple of years I've seen some great things from students there, and now they are graduating! And the ceremony is like none I've been too. Instead of long, drawn out speaches by school officials, we saw and listened to performances by students who have now entered the 'real world.' I have a strong sense these young adults will do ok in life.
Last fall I purchased a finely-crafted small pottery cup from one of the students and I'm reminded every time I drink from it that I'm drinking from a cup of hope, a cup of what life is made of. The art infused in these student's curriculum and lives is also the art they will carry into everything they do in life. More high schools should be like this and more students should be so lucky to have a staff and teachers so dedicated to teaching. Their graduation ceremony was wonderful and different than traditional high schools, but then again, learning is not about worshiping existing knowledge but questioning it, and these students have done that. (a quote I borrowed from the ceremony) Best wishes Class of 2006!

Posted by carl1236 at 5:52 PM

June 4, 2006

The Scrapper

My life gets kind of interesting sometimes. I go down paths I never would have imagined traveling when I was younger or even just a few years ago. In the last few years I've had many opportunities to go WAY beyond my known boundaries and limits, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I have learned to love people and respect people that I would have judged and condemned in the past.
Recently I've met Lester the Scrapper. He makes his living by scrapping metals such as steel and aluminum. Our meeting came about because we at the bike shop are being forced to change our mode of operation. We used to scrap our own metal. We recycled bicycles that were in too rough of shape or too junky to repair and salvaged parts that could be used on other bikes for repair. We had a huge pile of steel outside of the shop and when we got over 500 pounds of it we could go turn it in for cash at the recycling company. 500 pounds is the minimum they wanted to deal with and would only pay you for loads over that amount. General we made about 30-50 dollars per load, depending on the price of steel. Aluminum is more valuable and break that down into smaller pieces and save it in bins until we turn it in for the cash. We have to save the parts for reuse anyway, so scrapping the old steel is another source of revenue to help pay the shop rent.
But since the new condo owners all around the bike shop started complaining about a salvage operation in their backyards, we were forced out of the scrapping business. It was too unsightly. So for us it was a great deal to just give the steel to a small-time scrapper who made his living by scrapping metals. These people are feeding off the bottom and providing a vital resource recovery function in our society of waste. I know a couple of these guys now and both of them are receiving the same kind of scorn and pressure from neighbors who don't like scrapping operations going on in their neighborhoods. It's a messy business by nature. It's junk collecting. It's the collecting of other peoples refuse, saving the good stuff and recycling the rest. It's amazing what people throw away! Someone made a comment the other day that scrapping is like being a catcher at the pooper end of the consumer lifestyle. People around the neighborhood like the idea of cheap repairs and cheap recycled bicycles, but don't realize that those are made possible because we RE-USE parts that come off old-discarded bikes. So at the bike shop we still do the scrapping, but we no longer make any money from it. We have Lester pick up the scrap weekly. We tear the stuff down, save the good parts, make a smaller pile in the shop, which we don't really have the room for, then Lester comes and gets free steel which he then adds to his other steel to make money. It's a great relationship given our circumstances and our need to "clean up our act," so to speak.
But now Lester is facing the same problem in his neighborhood. He has a junk-pile yard and the city is forcing him to clean it up, which basically will mean he cannot do his sorting and recycling operations on that property anymore. This is where I came into the picture of this story. This is where it's heading. Today I became a substitute scrapper. Lester came to us at the bike shop and asked if we could take the load of bikes he had in the back of his pickup truck because he had to clean it out of his yard or get fined by the city who was inspecting the following day. We were already overwhelmed with piles of bikes at the shop and had no room. We are under strict rules to not have any junk outside anymore. So we had to turn Lester away from the shop. But I felt sorry for Lester and his situation. I like helping the underdog who is being forced to "clean up their act so they are socially acceptable." Lester is one of the nicest men I know and trying to make an honest living off of everyone elses crap. Except society tells him, you can't do that in my neighborhood, it's too messy! haha. So I told Lester to drop it in my driveway and I would strip it down and take the rubber off the wheels and call him when he can pick it up again. So that's what I did today after I got home from the shop. I started with a pile of crap in my driveway and ended up with two good lightweight-steel frames which I will turn into custom-painted fixed-gears. I also extracted some other valuable parts from wrecked frames. I sorted and restacked the steel. So now I call lester to come back and get his steel. Today I was the scrapping operation. It took a lot of time to do this. Is it worth it? According to my day job pay scale, no, it hardly scratches the surface of what I could be making doing something like computer programming or web design or software training. Scrapping for money is not a high-profit business for small operations. It is something to do. And it's kind of fun tearing things apart and fun making new things that work out of junk. It feels good to know that some of this refuse will be put back into use and the steel will eventually get reused instead of coming out of the ground.
My day was very interesting and I learned a lot about bikes and how they go together by taking them apart. I also did a little research on the couple of parts I pulled out for salvage. My scrapping day is over, but now I have to get the steel out of my driveway before the neighbors complain! I don't think Lester will complain that I took all the rubber of the wheels and made his pile more compact. I don't think Lester will complain that he was spared a citation because he was able to haul his pile to some other location while the inspectors were there. The pile in my driveway is probably worth 30 bucks to Lester which will probably pay for a few days worth of gas for him, or buy groceries for a week or something. So It's worth it to me to help him out when he's in a bind.
In our society I think we try to hide the ugly, unsightly aspects of our consumerism and we don't like to talk about the pooper end of our consumption. One of my neighbors was observing me today and said that when he was a kid and his bike broke, he didn't get a new bike, he had to find a way to fix it. When a frame bent or broke, someone in town welded it back together. There were other interesting fixes he told me about, but the point was that his bicycles did not get replaced when they became unsightly or damaged. They got fixed not disposed of. Now days, we dispose of things just because we want the newer model, even if the old is still useable and in good condition.
And we push people like Lester out of the scrapping business because of the unsightliness of it all. Don't poop in MY neighborhood! MY Property Value will be Lower! Lester is a beautiful person. He is kind and gentle and friendly. What is the value of his life and livelihood? Does it mean less than appearances? This is our society, we make these kinds of choices all the time.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:31 PM

June 3, 2006

The Custom Single-Speed-Fixed-Gear Bike

I don't have a name for it yet, but it's coming. A bike of this proportion aught to have a name. Maybe it could be something like "Melvin" because Melvin is a cool dude. I don't know, but tonight I paid for and brought home all the components to make my own single-speed-fixed-gear bike. It will of course have a custom paint job. I am hand-painting this frame and already have the primer, paint and clearcoat to do it.
The pieces I'm starting with:
Frame - old japanese steel frame with nice-looking lugs.
Wheels and hubs - new rims, spokes and rear flip-flop hub - I have to build them
Tires - new 700c x 23c racing tires.
Handlebars - very cool old randenuering bars.

Dave and I are on a mission now to each build our own bikes. He said he would start his when I start mine. Well, today I started by purchasing and bringing it all home to work on. First step? Strip and paint the frame.

Now I have to tell you another story that will be related. I got a bunch of junk bikes dropped in my driveway today and I found another nice frame a little taller than the one I have, so I am going to make that identical to the one I was planning on building so I can try them both. Then I will sell the other one.

So, it's interesting and I'm excited to make these two bikes pieces of art!

Posted by carl1236 at 11:53 PM

June 1, 2006

My Goal of the Summer

Today I decided on my goal for my first Triathlon. Before I just had the vague idea that I wanted to try a Tri. And I wanted to do it after my Triathlon training course was over at the beginning of August. I reasoned that would give me enough time to train and get in good enough shape that I wouldn't drop out of the event. I can be realistic too. A person doesn't just wake up one day and say, "I'm going to do a triathlon," and then throws on her running shoes, grabs a bike and goes for it. Well, someone might, but I don't think I would actually go through with it unless I was prepared for it. And with this class I am learning how to prepare for it and working with a training plan to get me there. The plan however doesn't tell me how to improve my swimming so I can actually swim a half-mile. That I will have to figure out.
My first Triathlon will be the St. Paul Triathlon on Lake Phalen, August 20, 2006, 7:30am.
Swim: 1/2 mile
Bike: 20k
Run: 5k

I was told today that swimming 1/2 mile is like swimming 20 laps in the pool. non-stop. ah. sure. After swimming today I was a little discouraged because I could only swim one-and-one-half lengths of the pool without stopping! I have to tell you that this really is going WAY beyond my known limitations. A big question in my mind is, "Can I turn 1-1/2 lengths in the pool into 1/2 mile before August 20th?" Is this mission impossible?
Maybe I need to find a swimming coach. Or a therapist. But now I have a tangible goal, something to reach for. Now I can find what it will take to get there.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:23 PM